Mother’s ex taught son, one, to call her ‘slag’ during years of abuse

Woman’s ex-boyfriend who taught their toddler son to call her a ‘slag’ and a ‘slut’ during years of abuse is cleared of domestic violence charges as the judge says she’s ‘too strong to be a victim’

  • Paul Measor, 35, subjected Lauren Smith, 24, to harrowing abuse for four years
  • ‘Controlling’ Measor was jailed for five months at Teesside Magistrates’ Court
  • He instructed their son to tell mother to ‘**** off’ and call her a ‘slag’ and a ‘slut’ 
  • Audio was played in court in which Measor could be heard spitting in her face

Lauren Smith, 24, was subjected to four years of domestic abuse by her partner

A mother who suffered years of abuse from her partner has criticised a woman judge who said she was too ‘strong and capable’ to be a victim.

Paul Measor, 35, subjected Lauren Smith, 24, to harrowing abuse for four years, even teaching their one-year-old son to call her a ‘slag’ and a ‘slut’.

Judge Helen Cousins called Measor’s behaviour ‘disgraceful’ – but said Miss Smith coped too well with the abuse for him to be convicted under domestic violence legislation.

The judge said in her ruling: ‘I have to be satisfied the behaviour was controlling, coercive, and it had a serious effect on the victim. There’s no doubt the victim is a strong and capable woman, whose evidence was truthful. She has since successfully removed herself from the harmful situation.

‘It is to her credit that I cannot find the defendant’s behaviour had a serious effect on her in the context of the guidelines for this offence.’

Miss Smith, from Hartlepool, said: ‘It doesn’t matter whether a woman is considered strong and capable or not … he controlled my life for four years.’

She told Teesside Magistrates’ Court that Measor, who ran his own maintenance company, tracked her movements whenever she went out, stopped her seeing her friends, locked her in their house and knew the password to her phone. She also said he once held scissors to her throat.

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Judge Cousins was played nine secret recordings that Miss Smith made on her mobile phone. In one the couple’s one-year-old son can be heard telling Miss Smith to ‘**** off’ and calling her a ‘slag’ and a ‘slut’ under instruction from Measor. In another recording Measor can be heard spitting in his girlfriend’s face.

Measor was convicted of two common assaults by the judge last month, including for the spitting offence, and jailed for five months.

But the judge acquitted him of ‘coercive control’, an offence brought in under 2015 legislation to target bullies who inflict psychological cruelty on their partners.

Paul Measor, 35, was jailed for five months for his acts of harrowing abuse that included teaching their one-year-old son to call his mother a ‘slag’ and a ‘slut’

The offence concerns relationships where controlling behaviour is used ‘repeatedly or continuously’ and has a ‘substantial adverse effect on the victim’s day-to-day activities’. It carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Miss Smith, a schools learning manager, said the criteria for conviction was clearly met in her case.

She said: ‘You learn to put on a brave face and to be strong, but the damage that type of thing does when it happens day in day out should be obvious.

‘It has had a serious effect. I’m still attending a domestic violence support group, my confidence has been badly knocked and I struggle to trust people.’ Measor is appealing against his common assault convictions, meaning Miss Smith will have to give evidence again.

Katie Ghose, of Women’s Aid, said: ‘No judge should base their judgment of a domestic abuse-related case on whether the victim matches their stereotype of what a victim should look or act like.’

A spokesman for the judiciary said judges and magistrates received regular training on coercive and controlling behaviour.

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